Dear Michael, I agree to your analysis but like to go beyond it.
The entirety of "ICT 4 Education" projects falls short since all resort to tools which are not optimised for this purpose but to optimise the revenue of their vendors. And if its not the case -- like Sugar OS -- it remains unfinished forever. Since 2006 up to today we got version 0.98!
Therefore as the winner emerges commercial Android, Google's Troyan Horse -- with the built-in attachment to their 'we don't do evil' ecosystem!
What I don't understand is, that Kenya alone intends to spend US$ 300 mil for procuring hardware, but only 50 years after gaining independence willingly submits to the on-line compulsion of the Google empire with Big Brother monitoring everything, as Edwards Snowden just quite plainly demonstrates -- may I name it 'smart imperialism'?
There is rather a revolution being imposed, than the WSIS-Commitment of Tunis 2005 being implemented. Wasn't the pledge about a “people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented” evolution?
“In the evolution of the Information Society, particular attention must be given to the special situation of indigenous peoples, as well as to the preservation of their heritage and their cultural legacy.” (Art. 22)
Exactly this approach the KUKU Trust is pioneering in Tanzania as her official language Kiswahili has been neglected at all by the software industry. We worked out an ingenious grassroot concept which will lead to a sustainable development towards a Tanzanian Information Society – using hard- and software provided by her own IT-industry!
The concepts cornerstone is a free and open software desktop environment -- Uhuru OS. I assume nobody doubts that software is the master and hardware the slave -- Microsoft's success story is the best prove.
The Uhuru OS platform consists of some of the finest code ever programmed:-
* An UNIX system core – tier one industrial standard, backbone of the Internet;
* A desktop environment similar to Apple’s Mac OS X in technology and usability;
* A software componentry framework, ready to carry out customary tasks, designed for easy extensibility to any further necessity. Yeah, that's OpenDoc unearthed, which broke Apple buried 1997 under Microsoft's pressure.
Because of its ingenious design Uhuru OS can be localised into other languages without great efforts or cost; thereby enabling even indigenous peoples to utilise PCs while facilitating the “preservation of their heritage and their cultural legacy” in accord with the UN Commitment 2005 on ICT.
Lets hope that at this point everybody can agree that not only Kenya's capital of US$300mil is better spent to found a sustainable national IT-industry, by procuring an array of more useful custom-made devices, while taking supreme control by domestically maintained and extended software and establishing a domestic service- and supply chain.
If still doubts remain, welcome to our website which discusses in depth the issues mentioned above and more. My goal was was to kick-off a debate with my post.
After 4 years of fighting for ICT-development at the frontline in an African country I came to realise, that the fundamental reason why the situation is like Michael analyses (What do we know about what works,...) , is the lack of inspiration and imagination of all stakeholders -- nobody seems able of 'thinking outside the box'!
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."